UMM Belly Dancers to Present May Day Performance

Proceeds to benefit Machias Food Pantry

Belly DancerMACHIAS, ME – The Dancing Divas, the student belly dancing group at the University of Maine at Machias, will present “Dark Impulses & Greek Choruses” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 1 in UMM’s Performing Arts Center. The dance students, along with guest performers, are presenting the dance/theatre production in celebration of May Day and also as a benefit for the Machias Food Pantry.

The story line is of a Shire Town’s residents preparing for a traveling magician and May Day celebrations. However, when tricks are played on one of the residents, she casts a spell on a veil that bewitches all who encounter it. Various dances are featured in the story, including those using finger cymbals, a tambourine, veils, canes, and a sword.

Lois-Ann Kuntz, the group’s belly dance teacher, says the idea for the show came to her while listening to a piece of music, “Dark Veil” by Steve Ornest, which she was choreographing for her intermediate and advanced dancers. From that one piece, the entirety of the performance coalesced and has included a great deal of collaboration from the dance students.

“It has been my honor in keeping with the tradition, to teach so many kinds of dancers, young, old, students, staff, and community members of various shapes and sizes and abilities,” said Kuntz. “Everyone brings their unique spirit to the dance and contributes to the whole. Dancing is a celebration of the spirit. Dance used to be integral to celebrations marking the survival of the hard times.”

To support the Machias Food Pantry, a suggested donation of $3 or food items will be accepted at the door.

“Too many members of our community are dealing with hard times and food insecurity,” said Kuntz.

Inez Lombardo, a volunteer at the food pantry, located at the Centre Street Congregational Church in Machias, will be on hand to collect donations and is enthusiastic about the partnership. Audience members are encouraged to bring any of the following items: nonperishable food like canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, spaghetti, tuna fish, peanut butter, noodles, etc.; vegetables and fruits from the garden; and toilet paper, diapers, and pet food. This winter the Machias Food Pantry served between 60–65 families each week.

The May Day performance is co-sponsored by UMM’s Division of Arts and Letters. For more information, please contact Lois-Ann Kuntz at (207) 255-1244.

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